I want you to take a moment to imagine a simpler time. Not better, just with less information for each person to have and less overall health and more overall violence and a general inability for most people to care for their fellow human being based on silly things like different cultures.
All set? Yes, it’s hell on earth. Doubly so if you are not male, not white, or land owning, or gay, or heck, let’s be honest, are Irish, but let’s Disney it up a little for this particular aspect of that history. We aren’t throwing those things out, we’re just… having a fantasy where they didn’t happen, all while accepting it’s very much a fantasy because the other aspects are horrible and we don’t want those back while having these few things back.
So it’s like going to the movies.
Great, we’re on the same page now. Okay, so you walk into a pub in Dublin, amid a raucous good time. And you wonder what whiskey you’re going to have. So you ask the bartender, who immediately says:
“Why not have the Pub’s own Blended and bottled whiskey! We just blended up the new batch!”
That, and only that aspect of this previous simpler time seems amazing to me. Yes, I’m missing the idea that of course it could be shit, and there was no running water and I most likely wouldn’t live until 40 back then, but think of the different whiskies you could have! That has to be worth eventually dying of something as simple as a runny nose!
One such bar that did this, and still survives to this day, is the Temple Bar. Anyone who’s been to Dublin knows about this particular bar. It’s a magnet for tourists. The entire area used to be known for being a Bohemian drinking area. Now it’s known as more of a tourist based drinking area. However the history is still there, and Temple Bar is at the heart of it.
Thus as a callback to their history, Temple Bar has released whiskies like those that were originally matured and blended on the very same site that people still enjoy today.
So let’s see how they taste, shall we?
Up first we have the entry level malt, Temple Bar Signature Blend. This is made up of single malt and grain whiskies that have been aged in ex-bourbon casks and ex-port casks. Which already makes this an interesting blend, because port casks.
Price: $59.95 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Mango, sugar cookies, potpourri, chemical
Initial nose is sweet, some tropical elements, and some floral elements. Light, there is some chemical from the younger grain (assumption) there. It goes between that feeling of something being fake and potpourri and being a kid and wondering if you should eat potpourri (spoilers: don’t).
Taste: Effervescent, lemon, floral, cookie dough
Watery texture, at the low alcohol content I’d expect more watery, so that’s interesting. It’s quite sprite-y at first, and has more of the sweetness and floral.
Finish: Sugar cookie, anise, floral/goat cheese, grassy
Finish has more of the floral port elements to it. Makes sense why they added the port. Simple, light finish, though nicer than the rest of the dram.
Conclusion: A nice finish on a simple, entry Irish malt. It’s different than other blends on the market, be they Irish or not quite perfect (I kid, I kid).
I think adding the port was a smart move on their part. That said, it’s still a younger, lower abv. malt, and there’s elements of that throughout. It’s nice to have, however I think they can do better. Maybe more time, or more abv. to really show off the unique elements.
Temple Bar 10 Single Malt is a 10 year single malt from an undisclosed distillery that’s been aged only in ex-bourbon casks. So rather than a blend that you’d find, this is if the bar found some barrels they liked and poured them up straight. Let’s see how it tastes.
Price: $123.70 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 8/10
Nose: Perfume, vanilla, rosemary, mango
Perfume this time, it continues with some of the floral elements of the blend. That said it’s less chemical intense this time around (though some of that lingers). More of the ex-bourbon here, with vanilla being the second most prominent note.
Not too strong, but certainly stronger than the blend.
Taste: Banana milk, effervescent, cloves, caramel
Taste starts off nice with the flavour one of my favourite drinks to chase diabetes with, Banana Milk. While that’s interesting, it does some sprite-y youth, and then sorta falls apart there. Takes some time to pick much else out from the dram, and it starts getting more grassy as time goes on.
Finish: Anise, lots of grass, nectarine, oak
And it finishes with a ton of grass in your face, and not like that time your local dispensary had a sale.
Conclusion: Blind you’d think this was bison grass vodka. Or at least you would think the finish is bison grass vodka. Heck, give the taste enough time and it becomes bison grass vodka. And while I’m not against that type of vodka, I’m here for brown spirits!
This fell short of the mark for me in the end. The nose promised more from the blend, and then didn’t deliver. I feel like it was hurt by the low alcohol percentage, and would prefer to try it at 46%. Or even cask strength.
Temple Bar 15 Single Malt is a special edition released for the 175th anniversary of the pub, and that’s quite cool. It’s aged entirely in ex-bourbon casks, much like the 10 year. Let’s see how it does, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 8/12
Nose: Mango lassie, butterscotch, butter, light mint
There we go, the mango has found some cream and some butterscotch and made friends. It’s nice to see them grow up.
Love the butter and mango, however those tend to take over here. I’m guessing that at higher strengths the light mint helped out as well.
Taste: Cream, cashew, cumin, lemon pulp
Cream and nuttiness. Some would say that doggedly follows all of my reviews, however to them I swallow my pride and keep on writing.
That was a dick sucking joke.
Interesting earth and nuttiness here. It’s not as complex as the mango lassie note, however it’s unique.
Finish: Vanilla, custard, herbal, brine, brown sugar
Finishes up with some nice help from the ex-bourbon casks. Lovely vanilla and custard there that adds richness. However it’s somewhat short, and the brine is doing no favours, no how.
Conclusion: Low alcohol content hurt this more than I ever could, and that’s saying something, because I’ve watched Mean Girls a lot.
This is showing the character of the dram nicely, and growing well, however some of it’s lost in the end. I enjoyed this, however it felt like it’s edge was off. I’ll be hunting down a sample of the Cellar Cask, which I read is cask strength, and hoping that alleviates the concerns I have with these drams.
World Whiskey reviews #302-304, Ireland reviews #78-80, Whiskey Network review #1359-1361